Tips for a Phone Interview

Posted: 07/08/12 | Category: Interviewing

The most important thing to remember is that you are working towards obtaining a personal, face-to-face meeting with a prospective employer. If you can create the proper first impression on the telephone your chances of being invited for a personal visit are greatly enhanced.

Here are some tips you should keep in mind:

  • Be enthusiastic and assertive.
  • Remember that you don't have the benefits of expression and eye contact to show your excitement and interest. Be ready to provide specific examples of projects and accomplishments which showcase your skills. Avoid: speaking too fast, having music or other noises in the background, chewing or smoking, speaking too close to the receiver - anything that can create an unpleasant image of yourself.
  • Do not ask questions that appear to be selfishly motivated. This is the most common mistake people make on phone interviews - you should not even bring up the subjects of money or benefits. Your only goal at this point should be selling the company on your skills and experience - talking about money prematurely can only have negative effects.
  • Prepare your answers to the obvious questions such as:
    • Why are you leaving your present position? (Have a positive reason for this move).
    • What are your strong/weak points?
    • What were your biggest accomplishments in your last position?
    • What contributions can you make to our company?
  • The best way of answering this last question is to do research on the company you will be interviewing with: check out the company's web site, do your homework, find out what they are doing and be prepared to point out how you can help them achieve their goals.
  • As a parting comment let the potential employer know that you are very interested in the position and why. The enthusiasm you display could be the deciding factor between you and another candidate.
  • Please call your consultant, immediately after the phone interview to discuss a follow-up strategy.
  • If your phone interview doesn't occur at the scheduled time, please be patient. Oftentimes, people are unable to keep an appointed telephone call because a business meeting went longer than expected or they went home sick.

Additional TIPS:

Have ready

  • Pen and paper, a calculator
  • The job description and your resume.
  • A list of your accomplishments which relate to the job you are discussing.
  • Research you have done on the company.
  • A short list of questions about the job.
  • Your calendar and schedule availability.

The Techniques of a Pro

  • Smile - it comes through in your voice.
  • Speak directly into the phone.
  • Don't smoke, chew gum, eat or drink anything. It all telegraphs to your listener.
  • Stand up. Your voice sounds stronger.
  • Avoid ah, er, hum. This habit is especially noticeable on the telephone.
  • Practice makes Perfect. So practice your phone interview technique

For a winning performance

  • Confirm the caller's name and company. Get the caller's telephone number if you get disconnected
  • Be aware that the caller can't see you - can't see your hand gestures, or can't see you taking notes.
  • Pace the call. Let the caller do most of the talking, without interruptions.
  • Do use the technique of repeating or re-phrasing questions. It tells the caller that you listened carefully, and gives you time to think about your answer.
  • Avoid the simple yes or no; add selling points at every opportunity. If you need time to think, say so - as in radio, silence during a telephone conversation is dead air time.
  • Compensation issues come at the end of the interviewing cycle, never at the telephone stage. You can truthfully say you don't know enough about the job to state a salary figure. And, of course, you would need a personal interview to really talk with the company. Which is another way to go for the personal interview.
  • Re-affirm your qualifications, express your interest in the job and the company. Say you would appreciate the opportunity to talk about the job further - IN PERSON.